Much like adults, children can experience anxiety.
It is advised to prevent anxiety in children. Experiencing intense anxiety can cause children certain problems, including difficulties sleeping and eating, or in their relationships with people around them.
Anxiety in children can be the result of various factors. It may occur due to the following:
All children have fears at one point or another. They experience these fears in varying degrees of intensity depending on their developmental stage and personality.
Young children have difficulty understanding their fears and concerns. Hence the reason they react exaggeratedly when they are scared. As an adult, you should try to understand how your child feels in order to help them express themselves. If they express their fears and concerns, it will be easier for your child to overcome them.
Around 7-8 months, babies cry when they do not see their parents, and are afraid of strangers. They experience separation anxiety, also known as fear of separation.
Between 2 and 5 years of age, children begin to have nightmares and to experience all sorts of fears, including:
After 5 years of age, fears and concerns have to do with surroundings and the real world. The more the child grows, the more their fears become more like those of adults. They can experience the following, for example:
A child may be troubled by different family or social circumstances, including the following:
Children that are able to read the papers or understand news bulletins on television can be upset by some events.
They may also feel their parents’ stress and anxiety.
The most common signs of anxiety in children are the following:
As a parent, you should help prevent or reduce your child’s anxiety. Here are several ways to help your child manage anxiety:
You can also help prevent your child’s anxiety by following advice for maintaining good mental health.
If your child shows signs of anxiety that worry you, you can contact organisms and associations working with anxiety disorders. They offer information, help and support.
However, consult your family doctor or another health professional if you experience one of the following situations:
A health professional will assess whether or not your child suffers from anxiety disorder or another health problem with similar symptoms.
Various treatments could be prescribed to help your child overcome their fears and anxieties. It is likely that you will be a part of their treatment, especially if they refuse to go to school. In such a case, you will have to work with the school staff.
Go to Help and Resources to find the assistance available to you.
Resources are available for parents and children who wish to receive help or more information about anxiety in children:
You may also go to the anxiety disorders information page to find all available resources for anxiety disorders.
To receive care or services, or to find a psychotherapist with whom your child feels comfortable, contact one of the following resources:
To find contact information for your family medicine clinic, your CISSS or your CIUSSS, go to Finding a Resource.
Last update: September 27, 2016 11:56 AM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.